Just like that, the 2022 PFL Season comes to a head here and now as reigning champ and #2 seed Kayla Harrison (15-0) looks to become the 1st ever PFL fighter to win 3 consecutive World Championships. Across from Harrison will be #1 seed knockout artist Larissa Pacheco (18-4) who rides a streak of 5 straight 1st round finishes into this bout. A rematch 3 years in the making, Pacheco was able to push Harrison to her limit in their 1st 2 meetings, ultimately dropping both by decision. Pacheco has been a different beast since those losses and looks to prove she has made the improvements to her game that will allow her to win a 2022 PFL World Championship and dethrone her old nemesis.
The bell rings and our final bout of the evening is underway! Harrison lands a nice outside low kick as booth fighters feel each other out and try to find the range early.
Harrison fires a heavy front kick up the middle but misses the target as both women land some big shots. The fighters clinch and Harrison is able to secure an outside trip and land in side control but Pacheco quickly works to recover her full guard.
Harrison is posturing up and doing big damage early here as Pacheco finds herself facing some early adversity 2 minutes into the fight. Harrison passes to half guard briefly but Pacheco regards despite taking some big shots.
Harrison is doing a great job using her forearm to frame off on Pacheco and land big shots from the top, and puzzlingly Pacheco seems content to accept a bad position here for the time being.
Now, Pacheco threatens some offense by throwing up an armbar but she doesn’t have the angle because of where she is on the fence. Harrison stands up and Pacheco lands some heavy low kicks from the bottom as Harrison looks for her opening to get back inside, and she does, landing a big right hand on the way down with 30 seconds remaining.
Pacheco gives up her back but with only 10 seconds to work Harrison likely doesn’t have enough time to finish, and the round will end there.
Pacheco is wearing some damage as we begin our 2nd round. Oh! Harrison gets dropped briefly but recovers instantly, landing a massive overhand left.
Harrison seems to have a bit more respect for the power of Pacheco now as she changes levels but can’t finish the takedown. Harrison continues in the clinch though but Pacheco locks up a guillotine! There was real danger there for a moment but Harrison scrambles perfectly and starts building back to her feet, getting there and driving Pacheco into the fence.
Harrison now pummels for position halfway through the round but can’t seem to get Pacheco to the mat. They break the clinch and Pacheco lands a nice right hook on the exit as Harrison appears to be getting a little flustered.
Pacheco lands a clean uppercut on the entrance and seems to have Harrison hurt! Harrison overcommits on a takedown and Pacheco is able to hit a fireman’s carry to stay out of danger as the round ends.
We’re underway in a pivotal 3rd round and Harrison eats a kick as she changes levels. This time however Harrison is able to finish the single leg and wind up on top, but Pacheco is staying busy with strikes off her back.
Harrison is starting to posture up and do some damage but Pacheco throws up a triangle and that is tight! Pacheco continues to soften Harrison up with hammerfists from the bottom and she’s holding onto that triangle choke for dear life.
Pacheco transitions to a belly down armbar but Harrison is able to get out of danger and take Pacheco’s back! What a grappling exchange!
Harrison passes into mount from half guard and has 90 seconds to work for a finish from here as she begins unloading some ground and pound.
With 20 seconds remaining Harrison postures up and lands some massive shots, but she won’t be able to finish in this round.
The championship rounds begin with Pacheco on the front foot and another unsuccessful takedown attempt from Harrison. Harrison however stays with it and finishes a blast double leg to wind up in half guard.
Pacheco is able to scramble her way to top position before taking Harrison’s back and starting to attack submissions but she can’t hold the position long as Harrison explodes and reverses her way back to the top.
The fighters return to their feet and Harrison appears to be attacking a guillotine, eventually using it to drag Pacheco down to the mat and take her back with 2 minutes to go in the round.
Pacheco recovers quickly, however, getting back to her feet before they hit the mat again with Pacheco scrambling into top position. This has easily been the most adversity Harrison has faced in her MMA career.
Pacheco does some heavy damage before they get back to the feet and Pacheco lands another power hook for good measure, possibly stealing the round with that exchange. We’ve got a fight heading into our final round of the 2022 PFL Season!
Our final round is underway in what could very easily be a tied fight! Pacheco appears to be the fresher fighter right now as Harrison locks up the clinch and starts looking for takedowns.
Harrison lands the whizzer kick but can’t maintain control as Pacheco pops right back up to her feet. Harrison seems reluctant to break the clinch here as she attacks a single leg and Pacheco punishes her for not protecting herself.
Pacheco is pouring the damage on now as Harrison clings to the single leg. Pacheco takes the back with 2 minutes to go but Harrison expertly transitions, gets her hip to the mat, and reverses position to wind up on top, but Pacheco is still landing heavy shots from her back.
With a minute remaining, Harrison is in the full guard of Pacheco and looking to close out strong but Pacheco is refusing to concede or accept position, constantly working and staying busy off her back.
Harrison postures up but whiffs on a big right hand as the round winds down! With 10 seconds to go Harrison is still on top but it’s anybody’s guess how the judges will score this nailbiter!
Larissa Pacheco pulls off the upset of the year and dethrones the seemingly unbeatable Kayla Harrison!
Larissa Pacheco def. Kayla Harrison via UD (48-47 3x)